Tom Grissom was renowned for his gift for conversation. His friends included Katharine Hepburn, George Gershwin and Sigmund Freud among many others; and he was extremely generous with both his time and resources.
His professional pursuits during the 90s and 2000s were varied: copy editing for Penthouse magazine and selling classified ads at The Times; sales positions with upmarket food stores such as Dean & Deluca and Ecce Panis, as well as clerking in museums.
Early Life and Education
Tom graduated from Casey High School in 1951. Following this he served in the United States Air Force Aviation Cadet Program during World War II before enrolling at Randolph Field Flight School near San Antonio, Texas for flight school training.
In April 1959, Grissom joined Project Mercury along with six other men after successfully passing physical and psychological exams. When doctors discovered his allergies would affect him in space he insisted they wouldn’t as there wouldn’t be any ragweed pollen there!
Grissom attended college at the College of the Holy Cross, where he participated in its Student Christian Movement as well as numerous boards, foundations, and agencies around New York. Additionally, he served his local church, Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church of Manhattan.
In season two, Grissom is hired as night shift team supervisor at the Las Vegas CSI laboratory. Jim Brass finds him to be an indispensable colleague while David Hodges seeks his advice and approval often.
He is an avid collector of space and NASA artifacts, putting his expertise to good use in numerous cases involving rock star autopsies (season 7 “Built to Kill”) as well as autopsy cases involving other celebrities’ bodies (season 7, “Built to Kill”). Furthermore, Grissom is also an amateur historian and author with numerous published books under his name; these interviews with celebrities like Marian Seldes and Katharine Hepburn led to remarkable intimacy between themselves.
Achievement and Honors
NASA selected Gus Grissom as one of seven astronauts for Project Mercury and later Gemini and Apollo programs, serving both as deacon and elder within his North Georgia Conference as well as in California-Nevada Conferences as an ordained United Methodist minister.
He received his Air Force wings in 1951 and completed 100 combat missions over Korea with the 334th Fighter Interceptor Squadron flying F-86s. On returning home he became a jet instructor in Bryan, Texas.
Grissom was known for his hard work ethic and dedication to his craft, often spending 16-hour days away from his family working on flight training, engineering work, survival skills training, spacecraft design/production monitoring as well as mentoring his fellow astronauts. Grissom often served as an inspirational figure.
Tom Grissom was an enthusiastic mountain climber and reached the summit of Mt. Everest at 46 without using oxygen as part of his ascent in 1977, at age 46. Subsequently he trained and became an expert in spinal surgery before now practicing at Surgery Center of Wasilla.
His practice spans over 26 years and he holds fellowship-trained status for minimally invasive spine surgery. Additionally, he has conducted procedures related to urology, gynecology, ophthalmology, and podiatry.
He has two daughters and one grandson. An avid reader and lover of travel, he has visited all 50 states as well as various countries around the globe – serving on several boards and foundations in this capacity.
Thomas Grissom is an emeritus member of The Evergreen State College’s faculty and an author, writer, physicist and emeritus faculty member at this renowned educational institution. Additionally, he has published various collections of poetry as well as technical papers and reports in both these fields.
Grissom currently works for Uber as a technical sourcer and earns an impressive annual salary of $94,239 — far surpassing what he made during his NFL football career – yet is enjoying his work immensely and may return to playing football at some point in the future.
He is survived by his wife Patricia; son Kristofer Butchers and his partner Angie; daughter Lorie Williams with her partner Jack Williams; step-son Thomas “Alex” Grissom; granddaughter Katherine Clay with husband Jeremy Manning as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Cards may be sent in his memory at 800 Concourse Village West 24D Bronx New York 10451 for condolences or sympathy messages.